JO QUAIL ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM ‘EXSOLVE’ / TOURING WITH MONO + MYRKUR

Since the release of her previous album ‘Five Incantations’ in 2016, internationally acclaimed composer and virtuoso cellist Jo Quail has been touring extensively across Europe performing alongside the likes of Boris, Amenra, Caspian, Myrkur and Winterfylleth. Festival performances this year include ArcTanGent, WGT, Dunk! and Tramlines Festival, and two separate concerts at the invitation of Robert Smith for his curation of the Southbank’s Meltdown Festival.

Jo’s new album ‘Exsolve’, recorded with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios (Electric Wizard, Primordial, Witchsorrow, Conan), will be released on 2nd November. Watch the trailer with an excerpt of the track ‘Mandrel Cantus’ here:

The initial ideas for ‘Exsolve’ were formed following an invitation to perform at the Arp Museum in Bonn, to celebrate the Barbara Hepworth ‘Sculpture for a Modern World’ exhibition (previously at the Tate Modern). Jo comments, ‘as well as my standard concert repertoire from my previous three albums I wanted to write and perform something specifically to honour these beautiful works. I wrote a piece for solo cello called ‘Single Form’ which explored the cello physically, using the extensive pitch range and then creating a sonic ‘hole’ literally by handshape and position on the neck, mirroring the curves and spaces in Hepworth’s work.’

While ‘Single Form’ doesn’t appear on the new album, the writing process behind it went on to inform and help mould all the pieces on ‘Exsolve’. Jo adds, ‘there are many aspects of Barbara Hepworth’s life and works that inspired the early creative stage of this album. She talked of the left hand ‘seeing’ and the right hand then carving, and I found this analogy greatly inspiring. I wanted to explore what it actually feels like physically to play cello and at the same time I wanted to write something ambitious, brave and proud, something that pushes beyond what I had done before in terms of live looping, yet something that has the weight and certainty of a monolith for want of a better term!’

Since commencing her solo career in 2010, Jo has released three albums, three EPs and a live DVD. Following her 2015 European tour with post-rock giants Caspian Jo has embedded herself in the world of left-field and heavy music, whilst continuing to perform within the contemporary and avant-garde spheres. Not only did she open for black-metal artist Myrkur but Jo joined her on stage as part of her Folkesange project as well as collaborating with the likes of A-Sun Amissa, Mono’s Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto, Eraldo Bernocchi and FM Einheit  (Einsturzende Neubauten). Jo has performed several concerts of her works arranged for electric cello, orchestral ensembles and choirs both at home in the UK, in Europe and in Australia where she tours on a yearly basis.

“Exsolve’ is comprised of 3 tracks, with each one being broken down in to sections and movements across 45 minutes. Mastered by James Griffiths, himself a film composer, there is an almost symphonic quality to the album.

‘Exsolve’ has been an unique process in both writing and recording terms for Jo who states, ‘what made the writing process so different for me was the sense that every single note was being sculpted, created, forged by hand somehow. It was not a ‘struggle’ but it was a clear process with a lot of very detailed attention to individual sounds; in some cases the sounds themselves built the pieces rather than a melodic structure requiring an extra heft of percussion.  For example the tribal toms at the end of ‘Causleen’s Wheel’ were created and set down before the front end of the piece was written…but as with my other pieces, the whole work relates back and forwards, and is built from the same motif throughout.’

With recording ‘Exsolve’ Jo decided to try something different and set out working with Chris Fielding, known more for his work with metal bands such as Conan, Electric Wizard and Witchsorrow at Sky Hammer Studio. Jo describes this as, ‘an incredible experience. Chris is really on it as a producer, and had no issue with my method of writing from a loop perspective, and dealing with all the various motifs that appear and withdraw throughout the compositions.  Pretty much everything was reamped live, which brings the depth to the sound. Chris is very patient and equally very creative, so we were able to take my existing sounds and make them somehow 3 dimensional for the record. In places where I was less convinced of my sound choices Chris was able to advise and to bring different factors in too, experimenting with different heads and amps for reamping, or suggesting various techniques he employs in other genres of music to help to realise what I had in my head.’

Having had special guests on her albums in the past Jo brought in Dan Capp (Winterfylleth), Nik Sampson guitar (Devilment, Prolapse A.D.) and Lucie Dehli to contribute and collaborate on this record adding, ‘they are all very good friends of mine and all musicians I admire so greatly, so it was a pleasure to give the tracks to them and see where they went. I gave them no direction, just the tracks as they were, and this is the result. I wanted to create a sound world that my guests could come and place their sculptures on, to continue the analogy.’

‘Exsolve’ is a snapshot in time of these 3 pieces and with every live performance Jo looks to develop them further. As Jo concludes ‘For me, the final record is usually only the starting point of the journey and over time and with each performance the music will morph and be reshaped – composing and performing is a collaborative process between me, the space and the audience’.

Tracklisting:

1) Forge – Of Two Forms

2) Mandrel Cantus

3) Causleen’s Wheel

Pre-orders will be announced soon and a vinyl version of the album with an additional track will follow early next year.

Jo Quail will be heading out on two European tours to support the release opening for Mono and A Storm of Light in October followed by Myrkur in December.

European tour w/ Mono & A Storm of Light

01 Oct: Bristol, UK, The Fleece
02 Oct: Norwich, UK, Arts Centre
03 Oct: Glasgow, UK, Classic Grand
04 Oct: Newcastle, UK, The Cluny
05 Oct: Leeds, UK, Left Bank
06 Oct: Ghent, BE, De Central
07 Oct: Utrecht, NL, Tivoli De Helling
08 Oct: Bremen, DE, Tower
09 Oct: Dresden, DE, Beatpol
10 Oct: Wiesbaden, DE, Schlachtof
11 Oct: Aarau, CH, Kiff
12 Oct: Lyon, FR, CCO
13 Oct: Barcelona, ES, Aloud Music Festival
14 Oct: Toulouse, FR, Le Rex
15 Oct: Bordeaux, FR, Krakatoa
16 Oct: Orleans, FR, Astrolabe
17 Oct: Heerlen, NL, Nieuwe Nor
18 Oct: Oberhausen, DE, Drucklufthaus
19 Oct: Leeuwarden, NL, Into The Void
20 Oct: Athens, GR, Fuzz Club
22 Oct: St. Petersburg, RU, Zal
23 Oct: Moscow, RU, Zil
European tour w/ Myrkur
03 Dec: SE Stockholm, Vasateatern04/12 – NO Oslo, John Dee
05 Dec: SE Gothenburg, Pustervik
07 Dec: DK Aarhus, Voxhall
08 Dec: DK Copenhagen, Pumpehuset
10 Dec: PL Poznan, U Bazyla
11 Dec: PL Krakow, Kwadrat
13 Dec: HU Budapest, Durer Kert
14 Dec: AT Vienna, Arena
16 Dec: NL Tilburg, 013 KZ
18 Dec UK London, The Dome
19 Dec: UK Bristol, The Fleece
20 Dec: UK Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
21 Dec UK Glasgow, The Great Eastern
22 Dec: – UK Manchester, Gorilla

 

Franck Carducci announces new track and music video for November-15 2018

The Franck Carducci team is proud to announce that we will release a music video for our new song “Slave to Rock ‘n’ Roll” on November-15 2018

We will hold a release party at Boston-Cafe in Lyon, FR on November-14 where the video will be displayed on the big screens while the band plays a short special concert.

The video was produced by La Koloc Production and stars our new fictional character: “Arion Superstar

Statement from Franck:

I don’t want to reveal too much about this song already, all I can say for now is that it’s a humoristic tune , full of self-derision,
in the pure tradition of the 70’s classic rock hits.

We had a great time shooting a funny video full of glam to go with it, and we sure hope the viewers will be entertained

Review – Damanek – In Flight – by Progradar

“Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once.”
― Robert Browning, The complete poetical works of Browning

Damn, 2018 has been a stellar year for some great new releases and another one has found its way to Progradar Towers!

Damanek are a sort of Prog Rock supergroup formed by fellow Yorkshireman Guy Manning (vocals, keyboards, percussion, guitars, bass), Marek Arnold (saxes and seaboard), Dan Mash (bass) and Sean Timms (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals & additional programming). This talented quarted is joined by a plethora of stellar musicians including Antonio Vittozzi, Luke Machin and Tzan Nico on guitar and Brody Thomas Green on drums.

Described as ‘a genre-defying collection of sophisticated songs..’, ‘In Flight’ is the follow up to 2017’s well received ‘On Track’. Once again Sean Timms’ sleek production adds to the overall sense of quality and class.

There’s a shiver of anticipation running through me as the opening notes of Ragusa break out, there’s already a feeling of class and quality shining through. Guy has one of those voices that speaks to you through and beyond the music, a familiar cultured tone that puts you at ease immediately. The music itself is impressively stylish and smooth and just adds to the feeling of sophistication. The guest guitarists add even more sparkle and inspiration, this is going to be one enjoyable journey. Oooh, jazzy piano and percussion, the opening to Skyboat is joyful and upbeat and, as the track opens up with gusto, we are sent on a rollocking musical ride. Funky guitar and edgy percussion, along with an ever so cool hammond organ, add to the feel-good factor and the grin spreading across your face. This is music at its inspiring best and music that brings joy to your soul.

The Crawler opens with a deliciously dark melody and feel, a mature and sophisticated aura permeates the song with Guy’s distinguished vocal adding layers of class. The captivating chorus with its elegant sax sends shivers down your spine. Sean’s production can be felt most here, giving us a stand out piece of music on what is becoming an evidently impressive album. There’s a levity to Moon Catcher, a lightness of soul and featherlight touch to the music. The sparsity of the production and laid back approach to the vocals, along with the meandering sax, leaves a whimsical feel, a really classy piece of music.

Catchy, addictive and upbeat from the first note, The Crossing is a jazz-infused delight, the carefree tinkling of the ivories a particular highlight. Add in some more of the impressive sax and Guy’s vocals and you are onto a winner. The 3 part epic Big Eastern closes the album, taking the listener on an emotive journey from East to West: from the poorest rural lands of China to the West Coast of the USA. Grand in conception, and inspired in execution, it’s a journey that you become deeply involved in and one that takes you across the whole galaxy of progressive music, visiting every nuance on its way. At just shy of thirty minutes it is a true epic but never outstays its welcome, every note and every word is there for a reason and that reason is to give the listener the best and most joyous experience ever when it comes to music.

‘In Flight’ is an album I haven’t remotely got bored of, even after multiple listens. A compelling, engaging and stimulating listening experience that leaves you high on music and life. Every absorbing minute of music is a minute that will bring a smile to your face. This year there have been some fantastic releases, releases that are finally bringing the joy back to music and Damanek’s ‘In Flight’ should be considered up there with the best of them.

Released 5th October 2018

Buy In Flight from GEP here

Listen to ‘Ragusa’ from ‘In Flight’ here

 

Review – Nosound – Allow Yourself – by Progradar

Nosound have come a long way since their humble beginnings as a solo project of main man Giancarlo Erra. Six studio albums along with the odd EP and live CD/DVD have seen them hailed as one of the most interesting up and coming alt/art rock bands in Europe. Nosound inventively combines influences from ’70s psychedelia, ’80s/’90s ambient and contemporary alternative and post rock.

The follow up to 2016’s ‘Scintilla’ sees the band forging a different sound. “Allow Yourself’ is a new phase for Nosound. Finding a new balance between organic and electronic sounds. stepping away from rock structures and ditching guitars to have more space for experimentation.”, says Giancarlo, “It is a stripping back of what we have known before, and its inspirations are in a different field altogether, finding the band in a new space once more, wholly embracing Alternative/Electronic influences.”

So is the new sound of Nosound (sorry, couldn’t resist that!) a step in the right direction. Well yes….and no…

There are times when you bemoan the absence of the lush chords and wonderful orchestrations of the previous albums, especially ‘Afterthoughts’ and ‘Scintilla’ and, to my ears, some tracks that just don’t work at all. However, at other times, it’s minimalist feel and heartrending simplicity is painstakingly beautiful.

The highlights of the album are the wonderful, ethereal sounding sheltermy drugthis night and saviour, four tracks where the band’s desire to take the stripped back route works just about perfectly, leaving you with a feeling of whimsical, melancholy delight. The slow burning desire of at peace works particularly well, all the pent up desire burning under the surface but never allowed to break free.

The less is more approach works less well on ego dripdon’t you dare and weights, all good songs but just lacking that spark I have come to expect from this band. I just cannot get into growing in me and defy at all, I’ll just leave it that they are not my cup of tea.

So, overall, I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the new album. I always applaud a band’s desire to progress and change, that is the lifeblood of music but, for me, there is just too much pared back minimalist style on the album. The good tracks are very, very good indeed but they don’t quite make up for the others. It is by no means a bad album but the change in direction just doesn’t fit with my musical ethos.

Released 21st September 2018

Order the album from Burning Shed here

 

 

 

 

Review – Lathe of Heaven – Now There’s No Room – by Progradar

“Lathe of Heaven sounds religious doesn’t it?  And it is, sort of.  Vaguely.  Well, almost entirely unlike religion as it turns out.  To explain…

A favourite novel of mine is The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula Le Guin.  While writing the book, she was apparently very taken by some Taoist verses by Chuang Tse XXIII, which she used here and there in the story.  The book title is from one in particular:

‘ To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment.  Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.’ 

Years after the book was published, Le Guin discovered that this is a terrible translation of the original writing, but it was way too late to do anything about it.  She still liked the sentiment though, and so do I.  I take it to mean something like, ‘To know that something is unknowable, but still struggle to understand it, is a path to madness.’

So why did I call this project Lathe of Heaven?  I’m not letting on, but if you think about it hard enough, perhaps one day you will understand.”

Songs about lust for power, mass extinction, chocolate, apathy and the Voyager spacecraft – Lathe of Heaven is a solo music project by Martin Giles from Hampshire, UK. Martin spent 30 years in the music industry, first as a recording engineer, and then mastering at CTS Studios and then Alchemy Shoho in London.

‘Now There’s No Room’ is a statement about the world we live in and how humanity is impacting on that world.

Martin quotes in his blog on the Lathe of Heaven website:

“So these days, I’m preoccupied with all the ways we’re screwing things up, and all the forces that conspire to maintain this catastrophic momentum. On the other hand, there are a few signs of hope, a few people who make a noticeable change for the good, and I write about them too.”

This is an album full of melodic, song-based tunes, a truly progressive album in the sense of the word. Martin Giles is a very accomplished musician and his obvious production and mastering skills are evident in every note. The Sibylline Books is a gentle and elegant piece of music that sets the tone for the whole record, the impressive vocals are measured and smooth and lend an authoritative hue to the track, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.’ Never a truer word…

Now There’s No Room is a melancholy and yet almost spiritual song, its pensive mood belying the graceful delivery of the vocals and ethereal music. As it comes to a close it leaves a burning emptiness inside you. How long until all the figures of speech we have that allude to animals are made permanently obsolete? Misunderstood takes the hard rock root with a stylish riff and gravel edged vocals that would have made Joe Cocker proud. It’s jaunty, devil-may-care feel is infectious, it’s all about how to avoid worrying about anything.

There’s a sparse, oriental feel to the minimalist beginnings of  Suit (some of the villains of the piece). It has a meandering, spacey jazz feel running throughout with the laid back drumming and stylish guitar. This is music for the mind, it encourages and instigates discussion and thinking. The Barefoot Chocolate Maker is, by way of contrast, a true story about a good man who really made a difference. To my ears there is a feel of ‘Wish You Were Here’ about the track. It’s simple delights bewitching, the story is all you need, no embellishments. The wonderful extra track Theme is a musical palate cleanser and enthralls with its childlike innocence and uncomplicated delights.

Marionettes has a slow buring beginning that blossoms into another effortless piece of music. I have to mention the vocals that, throughout this album, have been very impressive and lend a mature feel, an agelessness beyond our years, tot he music. The wonderful keyboards and acoustic guitar again giving a nod to Floyd, ‘The puppets refuse to return to the box’. This album just keeps getting better, Martin has proven himself as a very intelligent songwriter throughout and Panopticon/Rome Burns is no exception. Perhaps darker than the other songs with a very profound and influential feel to it, it showcases the subtle and discerning side to Martin’s skillset and asks the question ‘How much do we really know, and how should we respond?’

This thought provoking album comes to a close with The Last Song that subtly says, ‘We certainly won’t be around in a million years. Will there be anything at all to hint that we were ever here? Calmness personified with the delicate guitars and hushed vocal, it certainly leaves you in a very thoughtful frame of mind.

Intelligent, inventive and perfectly crafted, ‘Now There’s No Room’ is a captivating and utterly absorbing fifty-four minutes of intriguing and provocative music and an album that Martin Giles should be immensely proud of.

Released 8th September 2018

Order direct from the Lathe of Heaven website here

 

 

Review – The Pineapple Thief – Dissolution – by James R. Turner

I was relatively late to the Pineapple Party, first picking up on their ‘Someone Here Is Missing’ album, and since then I’ve enjoyed the journey through ‘Magnolia’, and ‘Your Wilderness’, their first album (&tour) with Gavin Harrison, the drummer’s drummer and the contemporary Bruford.

His performances on the tour (along with Darran Charles) on 2nd guitar gave frontman Bruce Soord room to breathe on stage and step up to be the frontman we always knew he was capable of being. Seeing them play in Bristol was sublime, the best I had ever seen them, those doubting this should seek out the ‘Where We Stood’ live documentary of this tour.

The best bands have the best drummers, (look at Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Yes, King Crimson and Gandalfs Fist) and it’s the interplay between the music and the skill of the drummer that raises it somewhere else.

Harrison, now on board for another album and tour, has been fundamental in pushing the band forward with getting more involved in collaborating with the song writing and main songwriter Bruce Soord has responded in kind, after all, if you have a Ferrari you don’t drive it two miles down the road to buy a loaf of bread do you?

Following on from ‘Your Wilderness’, this new album, again, is evolution rather than revolution, taking the trademark depth of the The Pineapple Thief and building on established motifs and sounds. ‘Dissolution’ is a darker album than its predecessor and that is reflected in the artwork and sound. There is only one song on here that could be considered an epic, although that shouldn’t put anyone off.

Bruce has the knack for putting plenty of hooks and sounds into the shorter songs and it’s his song writing that is so effective across the album and what makes it work. In fact, the opener Not Naming Any Names opens in an incredibly low key way for an album starter  and it sets the album’s stall out in it’s briefest 2 minute introduction. This is one of the darker and bleaker albums that Bruce has been involved in and the theme of Dissolution, from relationships, to the impact social media has on these things and the way it amplifies and polarises, them is evident throughout.

Try As I Might is a harder and darker track again, and the ever present Steve Kitch on keys and Jon Sykes on bass both pull together to create the pulsating dark undertow to the album. Threatening War is another fantastic track, one that I am sure will be fantastic live and, as throughout the album, Harrison’s drumming is peerless, while Bruce wrings every amount of emotion through the songs. Judging from the lyrics it would appear that he’s been through the mill a bit. The low key lo-fi mood continues with the short Pillar of Salt which leads into the 11 minute epic of White Mist, featuring guest guitar work from David Torn, it has an exciting experimental edge to it with some fantastic performances all round. This isn’t your typical prog epic, it builds and twists to its musical climax as guitars duel, electronics shimmer and ebb and flow and the beat of Harrison’s drums act as a counterpoint to Bruce’s vocals.

This is the sound of a band reborn and energised and, while the album has its dark moments and bleak lyrics, musically it is one of the best they have made and, like all the best albums, flows perfectly. No dipping in and out of tracks here, this is a journey, musically and lyrically and Bruce, again, has shown why The Pineapple Thief are one of the finest bands out there, and one who you must see live.

In fact, my only niggle with the whole ‘Dissolution’ album and tour is the fact that, on the first leg, they aren’t playing Bristol!

Released 31st August 2018

Order ‘Dissolution’ from Kscope here:

The Pineapple Thief

 

 

The Tangent launch trailer for new album ‘Proxy’

THE TANGENT, the progressive rock group led by Andy Tillison, will release their 10th studio album ‘Proxy’ on November 16th, 2018. Recorded during the band’s tour with Karmakanic in 2017/18, which saw them with more chances than normal to work together on the record – hotel writing sessions, van discussions, soundcheck ideas – all of which have allowed the band to make an album that is as organic as they have ever achieved since their formation 15 years ago.

Watch a trailer for the album here, featuring some snippets of brand new music

‘Proxy’ is now available to pre-order as limited CD digipak, 180g vinyl + CD (including several coloured vinyl versions) & as digital download here: https://the-tangent.lnk.to/Proxy

Andy Tillison comments: “Our belief is that Progressive Rock music is still a valid and viable musical form in 2018 and will continue to be so. Our band has always sought to take on board things from the present and add them to that magical mix. We don’t claim to be offering the FUTURE. We just claim to be offering one set of possibilities. Ours. Now.”

‘Proxy’ is a riot of juxtaposing styles, presented in a really direct manner and despite being firmly rooted in the stylistic traits of the Progressive Rock Genre takes some unexpected turnoffs and a major swerve. The albums kicks off with a trademark Tangent prog fantasia based around growling Hammonds, shrieking Synths, whirling guitars and sharp percussive bass  – influences of ELP, Egg, Hatfield & the North, Caravan and Camel proudly worn on their sleeves.  This 16-minute title track eventually becomes a protest song about the continuing wars that share their name with the song.

But this album features no overall concept. The second track is a sun-drenched Mediterranean fusion instrumental, more Chick Corea than Che Guevara.  And the third track is referred to by the band as an attempt to find the missing link between Porcupine Tree and Jamiroquai.  By the time we reach the centrepiece epic track ‘The Adulthood Lie’, the rulebook has been left behind and the band are trying to fix the car with whatever is at hand.

The Tangent came of age some time ago now. After 15 years with a constant presence on the periphery of the scene, this album is the next step on the road from a band who have painstakingly revered and recreated the past, with one eye on the future.

The album will be available as a limited CD digipak, Vinyl LP + CD & as digital download. The full track-listing is as follows:

1.Proxy
2.The Melting Andalusian Skies
3.A Case of Misplaced Optimism
4.The Adulthood Lie
5.Supper’s Off
6.Excerpt From “Exo-Oceans” (Bonus Track)
The album features the following players:
Andy Tillison – Vocals, Lyrics, Keyboards, Composer
Jonas Reingold (The Sea Within, Steve Hackett Band) – Bass Guitar
Theo Travis (Soft Machine, Travis-Fripp) – Sax & Flute
Luke Machin (Maschine, Francis Dunnery Band) – Guitar
Steve Roberts (ex Magenta, Godsticks) – Drums
With special guest: Goran Edman (Karmakanic) – Vocals

Review – Nova Cascade – Above All Else – by Scott Evans

Having formed in Spring 2017 Nova Cascade have done remarkable work to get themselves known in prog circles quite quickly. With their debut album ‘Above All Else’ they have hit the ground running. Nova Cascade are made up of musicians from 3 different countries, Dave Hilborne (Vocals, Synths) Dave Fick (Bass) , Alessio Proietti (Guitars) , Heather Leslie (Violin), Charles Bramald (Flute) and David Anania (Drums). The road to this album is a story in itself, with different recording methods,including a phone, some very credible guest appearances and the swapping of files to get to the finished product. The band blurb will tell you that this album was recorded on a budget and the production is very homemade, but this should not distract in anyway as what you get is good raw performances and feel.

Let’s start with the artwork, the rather fetching and beautiful cover artwork was designed and drawn by one of my favourite geniuses Paul Dews of How Far To Hitchin fameThis gets the ‘Above All Else’ experience off to a good start, the illustration matches the feel of the album well. This is then added to with some great photography from Brooke Smith.

So onto the album, at 37 minutes, this is perfect for the style and feel of the album. I am not sure if there is a genre of prog call ambient prog , but if there was not there is now! At the right time and moment this is a wonderful relaxed album to chill out to. Designed to be played as a whole, each track effortlessly blends with the next to form a dreamy mixture of music. Mainly instrumental the album is punctuated with vocals, and when they do arrive the best comparison I can give is Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis , which given the ambient feel of the album works well.

The title track Above All Else opens the album and a fine track it is one of the vocal tracks the track sets the scene for the ambient feel, the instruments blend and weave together for a very nice feel. Continuum follows and introduces the drums, this really is a nice track, again lots going on which can be appreciated more on headphones. The tracks are very short (in the prog world) which sometime leaves you wanting more but that is no bad thing, just hit play again. Prophecy has a Marillion type guitar led feel to the song, at the time of writing my favourite on the album. Hurtled brings back vocals and the Talk Talk reference would be appropriate for this track. LO-FI, Epiphany, One Hundred & Fourteen and Imago all continue the ambient feel very synth heavy and all pretty glorious again a listen on headphones does it justice as sounds work their way around your head, the piano on One Hundred & Fourteen deserves their own mention. This is a great section of the album that lets you drift off. Swept Away is the penultimate vocal track and is a more guitar drums and,in particular, bass guitar led track, probably the most upbeat track of the album but still fits in well with the overall feel of the album. The final instrumental is Icarus, maybe because the name of the track puts something in your head but the sweeping synths and melodies do feel like they would accompany flying. And finally we finish the album with one of the standout tracks Wiltedthe vocals arriving just at the end delivered just right to end the journey.

‘Above All Else’ is a great debut album that will put Nova Cascade on the prog map so to speak, yes there are times when the production could be better but it never distracts and to the majority they would neither notice or care as the music outweighs this. Very interesting to see/hear what comes next.

Released 10th September 2018 on download/8th October 2018 on CD.

Order the download from bandcamp here

Order the CD from eBay here

 

 

Review – Martin Barre – Roads Less Travelled – by Progradar

“I’ve concentrated on improving my songwriting over the last few years and as a result, I am really pleased with this new CD. Although my playing has a lot of space in the music, I’ve worked a lot harder on the arrangements and lyrics.

My goal is to have a CD that keeps the listener from beginning to end. ‘Roads Less Travelled’ reflects my belief in taking music somewhere new.”

So says legendary guitarist Martin Barre of his new solo album. Best-known as guitarist in Jethro Tull – one of the biggest selling prog bands of all time, Barre has developed his own distinctive style within the framework of Tull, and his instantly recognizable and original sound form the basis of this album. ‘Roads Less Travelled’ features 11 original tracks by Barre, which reflect the last 50 years of his esteemed musical career.

While all the songs showcase his exceptional electric guitar, acoustic guitar and mandolin playing, the Martin Barre Band also shine throughout. A long-time resident of Devon, Barre’s band features several local musicians :-

Dan Crisp (vocals), Alan Thompson (bass/fretless bass), Darby Todd (drums), Becca Langsford (vocals/backing vocals), Josiah J (Percussion/Hammond), Aaron Graham (drums), Alex Hart (vocals/backing vocals) and Buster Cottam (‘stand up’ bass).

The new album invokes a nostalgic 70’s sound that will resonate with people of a certain age and yet it feels really fresh too. Barre’s songwriting skills are evident on this really diverse collection of tracks from the hard rock opening of Lone Wolf through the edgy, Tull influenced, Out of Time (check out the stunning solo) to the scorching blues of Badcore Blues.

The overriding sound is that of Barre’s distinctive guitar and this guy is as good a player as they come. To many, his guitar playing was the definitive sound of Jethro Tull and his solo on Aqualung is frequently quoted as being one of the best of all time.

His supporting cast of vocalists aid and abet with fulsome aplomb, Dan Crisp’s vocals are soulful and hard edged, Becca Langsford gives a superb whiskey soaked edge to Badcore Blues and Alex Hart’s ethereal rendition of You Are An Angel is just heavenly.

This in album that you fall into like the comfiest of chairs, these songs are like old friends who have come to visit and share a dram with you on a cold night, in front of a roaring fire. On My Way brings Barre’s legendary guitar skills to the fore while Roads Less Travelled  with it’s driving riff, pulsating rhythm section and superbly harmonised backing vocals is a classic hard rock track in the making, as is the swirling Hammond organ backed blues vibes of (This is) My Driving Song. Martin shows us his elegantly applied acoustic skills on Trinity and the album comes to a more than satisfactory close with the jazz/blues cool of Becca Langsford’s vocals on the ever so classy And The Band Played Only For Me, all superbly backed by Martin’s acoustic guitar and Josiah J’s Hammond.

Whether you’re a Tull fan, a fan of 70’s hard rock or someone who just loves music, this release should definitely be on your radar. Excellent songwriting combined with superb musicianship has given us that rare commodity, an album that appeals to the past, the present and, most likely, the future. Martin Barre is still a rare talent nearly 50 years after he first played a note with Jethro Tull.

Released 5th October 2018

Order from Amazon here

 

Semantic Saturation’s ‘PARADIGMS’ GOES STREAMING

Semantic Saturation, the Progressive Metal project takes their extraordinary second album ‘Paradigms’ to all major streaming platforms; including Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, Pandora, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon, Rhapsody, YouTube
Red and dozens of others. The album is also available for streaming and downloads on Bandcamp at:

https://semanticsaturation.bandcamp.com/album/paradigms

PARADIGMS is released in physical formats, CD and Vinyl on August 20, 2018, featured on the album are drummer Craig Blundell (Frost*/Steven Wilson) and bassist Kristoffer Gildenlöw (ex-Pain of Salvation), and guest musicians, Derek Sherinian on “Ulterior Harmony”, Alex Argento on “Carousel of Death” and the lovely jazz vocalist Houry Dora Apartian on “Empty Whisky Jar”.

Semantic Saturation’s PARADIGMS promises Progressive Metal fans and old school rockers alike, one hell of a stellar journey into infinite realms of mind blowing musical structures and spellbinding melodies.

PARADIGMS can be ordered through the official web store at:

https://shop.semanticsaturation.com.

“‘Paradigms’ is a wonderfully complex and accomplished piece of work but, deep at its core this album is full of incredibly infectious grooves. Shant Hagopian and your stellar cast of musicians please take a bow for this fantastic achievement.”